Azodicarbonamide (ADA)

By: Sarah Taher

What is Azodicarbomamide

Azodicarbomamide also known as ADA, is a chemical substance with the chemical formula of C2H4O2N4 that is used for as a whitening product for cereal flour and to improve or maintain the dough's condition in bread baking. The whole purpose of adding ADA to the flour was to improve the quality of gluten formation and make the dough rise better. ADA was also being used in to make yoga mats and shoe rubber. Azodicarbonamamide is a yellow to orange red dry powder that's odourless . ADA can't be dissolved in water (water soluable) but is very flammable and easily catches on fire.

What are the social impacts

ADA has been found in more than 500 foods which rises a concern in consumers who are worried about their health. A recent controversial argument has raised the public's attention on whether subway should ban their use of ADA in their bread. Since subway restaurants in different parts of the world have banned the use of ADA such as Europe and Australia, America petitioned to follow the same foot steps. Nowadays, bread being sold in supermarkets and fast food restaurants lasts more than two weeks while still being fresh due to the additive of ADA, comparing to back in the old days where it lasted to a maximum of two days. This is causing a controversial to the public as in this is not right and not safe to eat.

What are the potential impacts of this chemical on human health?

Semicarbonazide (SEM) is a chemical substance that is formed when ADA is being broken down with water . A recent study found the link to tumors in only female mice when they are being fed SEM. However, these studies were conducted with high levels of intake of SEM which is beyond the human consumption of ADA food. Another study has shown the link of ADA to respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies. The person experiences these symptoms within three months of exposure to ADA. There's no real proof of a health issue with ADA , since most of it is used in tiny amounts in flour (only 0.045%). The other pros is that you are not ingesting ADA since most of the substance gets broken down to produce chemicals that we are familiar with such as Biurea ( the human body expels it). There are many other alternative chemicals that can be used instead of ADA such as ginger or critic acid. We can lessen the impact of this hazardous chemical by using a different chemical to help the improve the dough's quality. However removing this chemical can affect the dough by increasing its density and lessening its fluffiness and softness of the bread.